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The Council for Global Equality Welcomes the White House Efforts to Protect Human Rights in Uganda

the white house washingtonThe Council for Global Equality welcomes today’s White House announcement of new, concrete steps in our country’s bilateral relationship with Uganda in response to President Museveni’s decision to sign into law the Anti-Homosexuality Act earlier this year.  These steps reaffirm the importance the U.S. attaches to a foreign policy that prioritizes respect for the human rights of all people, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender – an important legacy of this Administration.

We take note in particular the announcement of new visa restrictions aimed at restricting entry to those deemed responsible for human rights abuses, including those enabled by this heinous law, and other corrupt practices.  In taking this action, the Administration has placed responsibility where it should lie – with those individuals who have enacted the new law, not the broader Ugandan people.  We urge that a speedy review of visa eligibility be the template for prospective U.S. responses whenever human rights are abridged, or corrupt practices undertaken, in any country.

The Administration’s new steps place appropriate emphasis on anti-LGBT police actions, our bilateral security relationship, and the broad areas in which the U.S. engages with Uganda on sound health policy.  We urge a continued dialogue in each of these areas aimed at ensuring the effective use of U.S. taxpayer funding in each of these areas, and particularly to ensuring that the health needs of men who have sex with men continue to be met.  We further urge that the Administration ensure that no organization charged with providing PEPFAR-funded services is allowed to take steps that deliberately undercut the effectiveness of those services, as was the case with actions taken by the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda in supporting enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act.

Finally, we note that Uganda is not the only government that has taken, in recent months, steps to further criminalize homosexual relations and relationships.  We have been proud to applaud the Administration’s policy of standing for LGBT human and civil rights abroad.  However, a global policy requires a globally consistent response, which to date has not been the case.  We ask that the Administration review, in equal measure, how to respond to similar anti-democratic actions in Nigeria, Russia, and other countries where government officials have put LGBT people at increased risk of abuse. 

For more information on the steps the White House is taking click here.

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on the Response to Uganda’s Enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act

View Statements from our Organizational Council Members:

Human Rights Campaign: Obama Administration to Hold Ugandan Government Accountable for Anti-LGBT Laws

Human Rights First: White House Takes New Steps to Protect the Human Rights of Uganda’s LGBT Community

 

US Department of State LGBT Human Rights Fact Sheet

The United States Department of State recently released a fact sheet on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) human rights issues. The statement notes that "The U.S. Department of State has significantly expanded efforts to promote and protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons over the past year." The State Department has focused on five areas of engagement under the Presidential Memorandum on International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of LGBT Persons.

  • Combating Criminalization of LGBT Status or Conduct Abroad
  • Protecting Vulnerable LGBT Refugees and Asylum Seekers
  • Foreign Assistance to Protect Human Rights and Advance Nondiscrimination
  • U.S. Responses to Human Rights Abuses of LGBT Persons Abroad
  • Engaging International Organizations in the Fight Against LGBT Discrimination

Click here to learn more

 

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

idahot-cge-hpThis past week we joined with the worldwide LGBT community in celebrating IDAHOT – the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Visit our blog for more information.

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Join Global Actions in Support of LGBT Human Rights

candle-bkThe release of the U.S. State Department's 2013 Human Rights Reports highlights continued human rights abuses directed at the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations around the globe. Here is a short list of ways that you can stay informed and lend your voice to the global LGBT community. More generally you can show your support by using the power of social media to send messages of support to those communities that are facing the harsh reality of discrimination.

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Council for Global Equality Urges Coca-Cola To Do More

 

Coca-Cola's Super Bowl ad, which will also air for U.S. audiences during the Sochi Olympics, paints a picture of an inclusive and diverse America. Despite many months of discussion and dialogue with the LGBT community, we are disappointed that Coca-Cola has not sought to air a genuinely LGBT-affirming ad in Russia or in other countries where that message so desperately needs to be heard. Values, after all, should not stop at water's edge. We urge that, as a major sponsor of the Sochi Olympics, Coca Cola affirm its values to Russian audiences and to the entire Olympic community.

CGE and other human rights advocates have been asking Olympic Corporate sponsors to stand up for LGBT rights all year.

View the letter signed by 40 international human rights organizations here.

 

Why Does the Sochi Olympics Matter?


 

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The Olympic Charter celebrates equality – equal opportunity both on and off the ice and snow.  The Olympics are about fair competition and respect for fellow athletes. They provide a unique opportunity to build  bridges – celebrating that, wherever we come from, we are one. Laws like Russia's anti-LGBT law sully that spirit – they’re not fair, they’re not democratic, and they divide. They have no place in the Olympic Village, and they have no place in today’s world. 

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Uganda Passes Odious Anti-LGBT Law

candle-bkThe Council for Global Equality joins our colleagues in Uganda and around the world in condemning the adoption today of a harsh, anti-gay law that sentences LGBT Ugandans to life in prison. President obama condemned an earlier version of the bill – substantially quite similar to the bill that now has passed – in simple and forceful terms as “odious.” With global condemnation and the weight of history in the balance, we urge Uganda’s president to reject this assault on the fundamental rights of his fellow citizens.  Passage of this legislation is all the more shocking because a sweeping, anti-gay law also moved forward this week in Nigeria, while Russia continues its own legal assault on its LGBT citizens in advance of the Sochi Olympics.  At year’s end, when people around the world are celebrating the blessings of the year past and the promise of the year to come, we mourn that such intolerance prevails.

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Open Letter to President Putin on Russia’s Discriminatory Anti-LGBT Laws


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rff-button-hNovember 15, 2013
Dear President Putin: 


Washington DC
- Like many of our generation, we have applauded Russia’s 20-year turn toward democracy, confident in the prospect it lays not only for closer relations between our countries, but for the freer and more prosperous future that the Russian people deserve.  In that light, we write to express grave concern at recent legislation – signed by you into law, or otherwise under consideration in the Duma – that demonizes and discriminates against Russian citizens who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

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Advancing the Human Rights of LGBT Persons in Europe and Beyond

cge-reblog-uzra-zeyaRepost from DipNote 
by Uzra Zeya, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

I was honored to represent the United States government at the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) Europe’s Annual Conference, held in Zagreb, Croatia yesterday.  Before an audience of more than 250 activists from 45 countries across Europe, I affirmed the strong U.S. commitment to advance the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in Europe and beyond. 

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Corporate Concerns About Russia's Anti-LGBT Laws

moscow-skyline-1Russia’s ongoing spate of laws that discriminate against LGBT Russians reflects poorly on Russia’s understanding of, and commitment to, democratic norms and universal human rights obligations.  This, of course, is the Council’s primary focus.

However, Russia’s anti-LGBT laws also directly threaten Russia’s own interests.  They impede travel and tourism – by gay and transgender foreigners, yes, but also by those who worry about Russia’s commitment to the rule of law.  They undermine citizen-to-citizen exchanges – so vital to the breadth and strength of bilateral ties.  And they harm the ability of American and multinational companies operating in Russia to take logical, efficient business decisions to allow them to grow in mutually productive ways.

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